A group of police officers in the Triad, North Carolina (NC) area are teaming up with local school bus drivers to help spread awareness about child safety.
The police officers will follow school buses on their normal routes and issue citations to any driver they see violating school bus safety laws. The initiative is called Operation Stop Arm. Operation Stop Arm was started in response to a new law known as the Nicholas Adkins School Bus Safety Act. The law, which was named after a Rockingham County teen who was killed trying to board a school bus, allows for cameras to be placed on the stop arms of buses. These cameras take a photo of law violators and a citation is issued in the mail. The Nicholas Adkins School Bus Safety Act also increased the penalty for passing a stopped school bus to a Class H Felony, which could include jail time.
So far police officers have issued only a few citations, but the presence of a police officer may be the reason for the good behavior. School bus drivers frequently report drivers violating the school bus stop arm and several accidents involving school buses have already occurred in North Carolina (NC) this year.
Earlier this year my colleague, Richard Shapiro, wrote an article about a young girl that was killed in Raleigh while attempting to exit her school bus. Six-year-old Ashley E. Ramos-Hernandez was leaving the stopped school bus when an SUV ignored the stop arm and went around the bus, hitting and killing Ashley. Recently my colleague, Emily Mapp Brannon, wrote an article about another bus accident involving an SUV. In that accident a woman fell asleep behind the wheel of her SUV and hit a Johnson County school bus head on sending four children to the hospital.
As drivers we need to be careful to obey traffic laws, especially when there are children involved. Rushing around a stopped school bus could be a fatal decision if an accident were to occur. Even if without an accident driver’s face large fines and possible jail time for violating stop arm laws.
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